Record High Army Suicides

One  more before I go off to bed. Army suicides are at a record high since they started keeping statistics in 1980. One comment in the article questions whether we are seeing the effect of added stress as soldiers serve longer and more frequent duty assignments due to low enrollment. The current rate is 20.2 per 100,000, compared to something like 11 per 100,000 in the general population. There were also 144 suicides among the 500,000 who left duty between 2002-2005. (If my math is right, that’s 28.8 per 100,000.)

There has been a call for more mental health services available to active duty servicemen. A newspaper article I read last year stated that there were signifigant hazards involved for mental health workers, who are expected to go into potential heavy-fire zones in order to help soldiers. As you can imagine, this is not appealing to many mental health workers.

As a guy who grew up very blue-collar, I am fascinated by people who are resistant to therapy. I may be going out on a limb, but I would guess that the perceived (and, probably, very real) ribbing from other soldiers would be a big deterrent to someone who wants to seek mental health care. I would imagine that some of the welders, mechanics, truckdrivers, and bricklayers I grew up around would feel the same way. I think one of the greatest things that social service workers could do is to find ways to end the stigma of even casual mental health care so that those who feel that they need help wont be ostracized.

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